Immigration Restrictions, Lack of Healthcare Could Imperil Innovation

Opinion

It’s hard to predict what effect the new administration will have, since we have very little information on any concrete policies they plan to enact. We do know a few things—namely, they are anti-Obamacare and anti-immigration.

Decreasing the number of visas granted to highly skilled workers (a likely possibility given Steve Bannon’s comments on Silicon Valley) will tighten the labor pool and drive up salaries. This will benefit existing tech workers but will dampen innovation. The technology industry owes a tremendous amount of its creative fuel to immigrants.

While I’m personally in favor of large-scale healthcare reform in the U.S., the execution of Obamacare has been poor. Healthcare costs for small businesses have gone up by 30 percent or so.  Providing competitive health insurance plans is a great way to cushion the risk factor associated with joining a startup, but Obamacare has it made more difficult to offer such plans. I would welcome policy that reduced healthcare costs.

Finally, and this is just a gut feeling, but no one would look at President-elect Donald Trump’s cabinet choices and see a collection of forward and inclusive thinkers. The Obama administration pushed the envelope on many technological initiatives, specifically around open data. I don’t see the Trump administration putting a lot of effort into similar programs. We’re more likely to see access to government data restricted.

[Editor’s note: To tap the wisdom of our network of Xconomists, we asked a few of them to answer questions heading into 2017 about the most pressing issues facing the innovation community, such as: “What possible actions by the new administration could significantly affect your company, your industry, and/or the health of the business environment, for better or worse?” You can see other questions and answers here.]

Shion Deysarkar is the CEO and founder of Datafiniti, the search engine for data. Follow @shiondev

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